Henry Art Gallery
Northeast Seattle, Seattle

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This iteration of Viewpoints features a group of detailed offset lithographs by the post-war artist Bruce Conner (U.S., 1933–2008). Conner, who worked across collage, assemblage, photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, experimental film, and conceptual art, consistently maintained a practice of contradiction by resisting categorization and challenging the concept of authorship.
Conner made the group of prints in this Viewpoints rotation between 1970 and 1971 from felt-tip pen drawings he began producing during the previous decade. The ink of these pens, then new to the market, faded quickly, leading Conner to explore ways of embracing, or resisting the medium’s ephemerality—the latter achieved by photographing the drawings and transferring the results to plates for printing. Produced using a commercial process, these prints were made as sellable editions, and are entrenched in Conner’s contentious career-long concern with permanence, fame, and value
The abstract compositions of these prints center on the act of perception itself. Dense black-on-white marks create an oscillation effect between positive and negative space, prompting up-close, extended viewing that mirrors Conner’s hyper-focused, durational process of making the initial drawings as well as his own exploration of a personal experience of vision. These predominately all-over compositions simultaneously evoke topographical landscapes and microscopic environments; some are structured as mandala forms, directly evincing Conner’s broader interest in awakening different states of consciousness.


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